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    Hi everyone,

    I'm a current 4th year student at UCL, and I'll be graduating at the end of this year. I thought it was about time that I made a post about what chemical engineering is really like at UCL, for anyone who thinks they might want to attend.

    First of all, I understand the appeal. I know what it's like to think that going to UCL will be an amazing experience, and how good it will be for your future career, and how great it will be living in London. Maybe that's true for other departments at UCL, but if you're considering coming here for chemical engineering, I'd advise against it.

    Now on to the real stuff.

    The department doesn't care about its students. That's the bottom line. There's a good reason why the student satisfaction is so low. You will get very little support from the department and especially from the lecturers, most of whom give lectures like they're being forced to do so with a whip, like their students are just an inconvenience. I've had lecturers who, if you went to their office to ask something, would be incredibly unhelpful and almost unwilling to give help. I can't count the number of emails I've sent that have gone unanswered. You really notice it when you have lectures in other departments, and you actually enjoy them, unlike in your own department where you have to listen to someone who doesn't want to be there. To give someone credit, the Head of Education for the department is great and does whatever she can to help students, but unfortunately that stops with her.

    There is a system of personal tutors, who are supposed to ensure that you are handling the course well and have no issues. Some of my friends have seen their tutors maybe twice the whole time they've been at UCL.

    The teaching system is also a joke. For the first three years of my degree, the only kind of contact time I had was in the form of lectures. No tutorials, no seminars, no problem solving classes. That's beginning to change now (they've "rehauled" the curriculum), but I haven't heard good things from the first batch of people to go through the new system. The lectures are incredibly dull, too. Go to UniStats and compare UCL to ICL (or Bath, or Manchester). The numbers speak for themselves. Very few lecturers seem to have any teaching ability whatsoever. Just look at the stats for feedback (which is terrible. I've received coursework with nothing but three or four ticks on it, and no explanation whatsoever of where marks have been lost).

    Most of the department is heavily disorganised. The Admissions Tutor is inept. I've had him for 2 modules and he has no solid notes, he just writes messy incomplete ones on the board, then finishes the lectures two weeks before the end of term and uses the same exam questions every single year. I've heard stories of him "accidentally" admitting too many/the wrong students. The Departmental Tutor (the person who runs the department) changed recently. The old one was okay, but obviously stuck in his ways, but the new one is awful. I can only imagine the department getting worse in the years to come because of him. I once emailed him about modules (which he is in charge of), and received no whatsoever, and had to go through three other people to get an answer.

    If you really want to seriously become an engineer, consider going to other universities like Manchester, Bath, Bristol, Queens etc. I've heard so many people from these places say how much they enjoy their courses. But at UCL, you would be hard pressed to find anyone in the department who says they enjoy chemical engineering. It's quite sad really. I had Bath as my insurance choice, and I regret not going there all the time. If you really want to come to UCL, do another course like electrical/biochemical/software engineering, but definitely not chemical. A friend who recently graduated with a BEng said she feels more happy now than she did for the whole three years she was doing chemical engineering.
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    Damn, thanks. I applied to UCL for Mech Eng but was a bit skeptical about my choice, as it was ranked so low anyway. Thanks a lot for this - really useful to know.

    Hope the degree is worth it, though. :-)
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    Classic example to show student satisfaction is a real thing. My uni and program were both top rated for student satisfaction and talking to friends at other unis and having now gone to a new university for a different degree I can see why.

    What really determines student satisfaction is the administration's organization and the teaching quality. There are so many small but subtle ways a university can make a student's life easier. It starts with the online module/calender system, whether information is uploaded on time or sent on time, whether or not opportunities are provided and whether or not the teachers actually know how to teach in an interesting manner.

    All world rankings tell you is how famous the department is for research, but it tells you nothing about how that department cares about its undergraduate students.
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    (Original post by Student403)
    Damn, thanks. I applied to UCL for Mech Eng but was a bit skeptical about my choice, as it was ranked so low anyway. Thanks a lot for this - really useful to know.

    Hope the degree is worth it, though. :-)
    For mech eng I would definitely recommend somewhere else too. I haven't heard good things about that department either.
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    (Original post by ChemEngineer37)
    For mech eng I would definitely recommend somewhere else too. I haven't heard good things about that department either.
    Ah I see! I mean my personal statement is completely aerospace based so I wouldn't expect to get it anyway. But yeah I just applied to UCL because I had a spare 5th choice and the name looked pretty. Are there any things at all you enjoyed about your time there?
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    Well, there go my hopes. Do you happen to know anything about the Civil Engineering department? When I visited I found it incredible - the teaching fellow who should us around was really good, and I thought the labs and everything were top notch, but I'd love to know what it's like for a student.

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    (Original post by Student403)
    Ah I see! I mean my personal statement is completely aerospace based so I wouldn't expect to get it anyway. But yeah I just applied to UCL because I had a spare 5th choice and the name looked pretty. Are there any things at all you enjoyed about your time there?
    I mean, yeah, there are some things I've enjoyed. I've made some really good friends, and the experience I've had in London is different to anything I'd experience in other cities.

    UCL has great clubs and societies, I think those have been my favourite things about the uni.

    Like I said, I enjoy the modules I've taken outside of department. I think UCL is a really great uni for most courses, but chemical engineering is just not one of those unfortunately.
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    (Original post by ChemEngineer37)
    ...
    Thanks for this, it's always valuable to hear from students who have near enough completed their degree, and what their actual experience was like.
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    (Original post by theonetruequeen)
    Well, there go my hopes. Do you happen to know anything about the Civil Engineering department? When I visited I found it incredible - the teaching fellow who should us around was really good, and I thought the labs and everything were top notch, but I'd love to know what it's like for a student.

    Posted from TSR Mobile
    I wouldn't worry too much about Civil Engineering. I've spoken to a few civil engineers and most of them really enjoy their course. I think the department puts a lot more effort into teaching than some others!

    If you're thinking of Civ Eng, don't be put off by what I've said
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    (Original post by ChemEngineer37)
    I mean, yeah, there are some things I've enjoyed. I've made some really good friends, and the experience I've had in London is different to anything I'd experience in other cities.

    UCL has great clubs and societies, I think those have been my favourite things about the uni.

    Like I said, I enjoy the modules I've taken outside of department. I think UCL is a really great uni for most courses, but chemical engineering is just not one of those unfortunately.
    Thank you for that! Sorry to hear you didn't enjoy your course, but glad you enjoyed other aspects.
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    (Original post by ChemEngineer37)
    I wouldn't worry too much about Civil Engineering. I've spoken to a few civil engineers and most of them really enjoy their course. I think the department puts a lot more effort into teaching than some others!

    If you're thinking of Civ Eng, don't be put off by what I've said
    Phew. I had heard that civil was one of the better engineering departments before, but seriously, you've made me breathe a sigh of relief. Thanks!

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    I can't remember the last time I saw someone say something positive about UCL's mechanical/chemical engineering departments here, pretty disconcerting :erm:
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    That Kind of explains why chemical engineering's minimum requirements are AAB rather than AAA like all other engineering courses.

    What about their Electrical and Electronic Engineering Dept? Is it the same?
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    I didn't go to UCL, isn't it supposed to be a high ranking uni lots of people want to get into?

    I've had negative experiences with professors too (not at UCL or in that area). They're not always as professional as people seem to think they are. They are sometimes, like the OP describes, not that good at teaching - they're not teachers. Then again some professors are serious about what they do.

    OP, sorry to hear about your experiences, hopefully you can now enjoy almost having done your degree and know that the best credit is self-conferred credit.
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    OP do you have any idea what the physics department is like? Thanks for any info!
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    Thanks so much for sharing this. Please do you have any idea if the Biochemical Engineering Depatrment is okay?
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    (Original post by Loaay)
    That Kind of explains why chemical engineering's minimum requirements are AAB rather than AAA like all other engineering courses.

    What about their Electrical and Electronic Engineering Dept? Is it the same?
    Really? so low? I would expect A*AA for al of them, since it is based in London.
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    Wow that is terrible! Has it put you off being an engineer?

    (Original post by ChemEngineer37)
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    (Original post by alexkol)
    Really? so low? I would expect A*AA for al of them, since it is based in London.
    At UCL It Depends on the type of Engineering:

    Civil is : A*AA to AAA
    Electrical & Electronic : AAA
    Chemical : AAA to AAB

    Check their website.
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    (Original post by Loaay)
    At UCL It Depends on the type of Engineering:

    Civil is : A*AA to AAA
    Electrical & Electronic : AAA
    Chemical : AAA to AAB

    Check their website.
    I believe you, I am just impressed how low they are...
 
 
 
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